New Zealand is known for its clean green philosophies and many of us are embracing natural products and solutions. But did you know that your fertility can be managed naturally too?
Natural Fertility New Zealand (NFNZ) is a registered charity and association of trained and continuously updated Fertility Educators who have undergone an extensive training programme in Natural Family Planning methods. Fertility educators provide education on Fertility Awareness and teach STM: Natural Family Planning to individuals, couples, medical and health professionals along with providing group education.
Some of our educators also provide in-school sexuality / puberty education programmes.
What is it?
The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) of Natural Fertility Planning is the practice of observing your body, understanding its changes and knowing when you are fertile and when you are not. According to NFNZ’s data approximately 50% of women use this knowledge to increase their chances of conception and 50% use it as a natural form of avoiding pregnancy/contraception. It can be used by women at any stage of their reproductive life – pre or post children, after stopping the contraceptive pill or Depo Provera (hormonal injection) or peri-menopausal women and it does not depend on a regular cycle. Breastfeeding women can also use a slightly adapted version of the STM (Breastfeeding charting or the Lactational Amenorrhea method).
The method involves carefully recording of:
- Cervical mucus symptoms
- Basal body temperature
- Changes in the cervix
Its effectiveness depends on:
- Supervision in the early stages
- Instruction by a trained educator
- Ongoing motivation
When used for avoiding pregnancy/contraception:
Utilising Natural Fertility for contraception has been used in one form or another for many hundreds of years and is the most widely used form of family planning throughout the world. The modern, scientifically based Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) is taught to many Kiwi women (and their partners) and allows women to have a non-invasive, natural choice which doesn’t require pill taking whilst still remaining highly effective (at least 98% effective – the same stats as the mini-pill).
(** Breastfeeding Mothers)
Contraception while Breastfeeding
If the mother is fully breastfeeding, has had no bleeding or spotting after the baby is 8 weeks’ old and the baby is less than 6 months’ old then the LAM (Lactation Amenorrhea Method) contraception method (approved by the World Health Organisation) can be taught. Mothers are taught this in an individual consultation and the educator keeps in contact monthly to ensure that circumstances have not changed. It is very important that the method is taught by an experienced educator to ensure the mothers recognise the signs of returning fertility. NFNZ accredited educators have qualified from the only accredited training programme in New Zealand for teaching the LAM method of contraception. Where the specific LAM criteria cannot be met, an alternative natural method of contraception is taught – Breastfeeding Charting.)
It is important to realise that STM is not for everyone and clients need to be committed. However, for many the method can bring them closer together. Natural Fertility (STM) for the avoidance of pregnancy assists couples who want to:
- Understand their fertility as a couple
- Share responsibility
- Make informed decisions
- Feel confident
The Sympto-thermal “double-check” method is a scientifically proven safe, reliable, and drug-free option. Commonly educators receive feedback: “Knowing that you are in charge and making your own decisions is so worth it…it makes up for the very little time it takes every morning to take my temperature and being aware of my other fertility signs has actually been enlightening and empowering. My partner takes responsibility for filling in the chart; then he and I can see when I am fertile. If it is a fertile time it then allows us to choose whether to have sex using a barrier (diaphragm or condom) or abstain. It is our choice. It also helps me to know my own body better and indicates when I am likely to be more physically and emotionally sensitive. I find it a help in managing any PMS)”
When Used for Conception:
One in five couples in New Zealand experience issues in achieving pregnancy. It can be frustrating, stressful and heartbreaking.
Learning Natural Fertility (STM) assists those who want to:
- Feel more in control of their fertility
- Assist in achieving pregnancy.
- Achieve a pregnancy after a time of unsuccessful “trying” and highlight fertility issues
- Time intercourse to maximise chances of pregnancy in a variety of situations such as:
– where a sperm count is low but otherwise normal
– timing post endometriosis / polycystic ovary surgery
– advancing biological clock
– couples separated due to work commitments (eg, service personnel such as army and navy, Airline personnel; athletes;
shift workers, sales representatives with large areas to travel)
– assist in timing inseminations
Rather than stressing out over potential issues, if a woman is aware of her fertility the couple are much more likely to be able to maximise their chances of conception in terms of correct timing of intercourse for her unique cycle and STM will also alert them of any problem much sooner. Learning Natural Family Planning (STM) is an excellent tool to assist couples in assessing their gynaecological and fertility health. Knowing how they can maximise their chances of achieving pregnancy puts them back in control and for many couples that decreases their stress levels. The quest for a baby doesn’t have to be so stressful that all the fun goes out of lovemaking!
Whether it be for conception or contraception, it is recommended to learn STM with the assistance of a qualified educator, which generally takes three appointments over 2-3 months, and educators provide ongoing advice and support for a year and beyond. (The cost is usually between $230 – $280 inclusive of all three appointments, all paperwork & a year’s follow up). NFNZ educators regularly see couples through their clinics, via home visits or via an online secure platform.
Get in touch with us for a no obligation chat about how we can assist you: A new skill for life!
Tel: 0800 101 637